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02/27/2012

Review: "Luck" episode five shows depth but it's hard to like these people

Luck-hbo-richard-kindOne of the reasons Michael Mann wanted to create the HBO show "Luck" is because of the vast array of personalities that live the races. Luck features all of them, sometimes brutally so.

But unlike some of the other lasting HBO shows - The Wire and The Sopranos pop to mind - those shows featured players that you liked, even though they were deeply flawed and very human. Omar Little was a killer, but that character resonated with people in a way that audiences liked him.

Through five episodes, it's getting hard to find many people on "Luck" that we can like despite their very human flaws that we should be able to sympathize with.

- Ace Bernstein (Hoffman) is a crime boss who know has his teeth set into trainer Escalante (John Ortiz), who in this episode is trying to send his horse out to race in conditions that would give him favorable odds so he can win a lot on a bet. Ace also has the hots for a horse lover, Claire (Joan Allen), so he donates a bunch of money in hopes of the hook up.

- The degenerate gambling quartet is developing into loser central, with Marcus (Kevin Dunn) having seen a doctor who tells him that stress is partly what is killing him. Marcus is one of the angier guys on TV these days. Meanwhile, Marcus can't figure out why he cares so much about his partner Jerry (Jason Gedrick), who is blowing all of his money on gambling. Marcus figures it means he must be gay.

- Jockey agent Joey Rathbone (Richard Kind) is losing clients, and his clients are losing good rides. Joey's life is in the toilet, but he's a hard guy to care about.

The performances in this show are so good and the film making is top tier - every horse race in every show is as authentic as ever put to film, but no one inspires an ounce of sympathy. Can this appeal to a wider audience for a third season? 

HBO has picked it up for a second season, and if you are a horse racing fan the show hits the right chords. In order to build and keep a wider audience, even amid all of the darkness that this show offers, it has to build a character we like.

@MacEngelProf
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Comments

Rick

I like Nick Noltie's character. He appears to be the only one on the show who has some sort of a moral compass.

Andy

I just watched all five episodes. What struck me as odd, is how all the friends stay so loyal.
If four best friends win 2.6 million dollars (and one of them is a compulsive gambler) do you really think they are going to stay best friends? Especially when two of them aint too smart.
And Ace and his hitman, they are too buddy buddy.
And I cant stand the jockey agent. He annoys the crap out of me.
Your assessment was dead on. Luck is a character study with characters who just arent that interesting.
There is just an undefinable something missing from all the relationships, that makes it a boring show.

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